The Charleston Gazette | Downsizing defense a nod to Mountaineers’ future opponents

To pretend that West Virginia didn’t have some disturbing issues in Saturday’s 33-14 win over Kansas would be to deny the obvious.

Offensively, the Mountaineers piled up 557 yards and yet still couldn’t score consistently, settling for four field goals and just two offensive touchdowns. In the last 34 minutes of a 60-minute game against the worst team in the Big 12, WVU’s only touchdown was a kickoff return by Mario Alford.

On special teams, there were once again pluses and minuses, the negatives all but wiping out the positives — at least perceptually — when Kansas took advantage of a muffed punt to score its only offensive touchdown and then becoming the third straight WVU opponent to return a kick for a TD, this time a punt return by Nick Harwell.

Both are major issues the Mountaineers must address as they head into the meat of the Big 12 schedule. It begins with Saturday’s noon game at Texas Tech (2-3, 0-2 Big 12), followed by a gauntlet of ranked teams in No. 5 Baylor, No. 16 Oklahoma State and No. 9 TCU.

But there is a third area where West Virginia (3-2, 1-1) is not only playing well, but already preparing for that stretch of opponents. The Mountaineers unveiled against Kansas a sleeker, faster defensive front designed to be able to rush the passers those upcoming foes will present.

It was not by accident.

via The Charleston Gazette | Downsizing defense a nod to Mountaineers’ future opponents.

Football Notebook: D Gets Gold Star Saturday – WVU Athletics

Tony Gibson’s defense gets the gold star following Saturday’s 33-14 victory over Kansas at Milan Puskar Stadium.

The Jayhawks had trouble moving the football all day, finishing the game with just nine first downs and 176 total yards. In fact, Trevor Pardula punted the football 14 times, the most ever at 34-year-old Milan Puskar Stadium.

“I can’t say enough about the defense,” said West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen. “Forcing them to punt 14 times is amazing.”

No, Kansas does not have a good offense, and no, the Jayhawks are not going to win any shootouts this year, but Saturday’s performance was another step in the right direction for a West Virginia defense that, by and large, has performed much better this season.

via Football Notebook: D Gets Gold Star Saturday – WVU Athletics.

Men’s Soccer Shuts Out Duquesne – WVU Athletics

The WVU men’s soccer team picked up its fourth shutout of the season in a 3-0 victory over Duquesne on Sunday evening at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.

West Virginia (6-5-0) put on an offensive clinic, firing 24 shots with 17 on frame. The 17 shots on goal are the most since WVU took 15 against Richmond on Sept. 16, 2011.

“The guys were excellent on the evening,” coach Marlon LeBlanc said. “We executed our game plan; we got around them, we got good service and we got a lot of goal-mouth action.”

via Men’s Soccer Shuts Out Duquesne – WVU Athletics.

National reaction: Kliff Kingsbury has decision to make; no excuse for Texas Tech to be this bad

"Davis Webb was 22 of 43 for 247 yards and two touchdowns Saturday – not a horrible line until his four interceptions are factored in to the equation.”

Webb’s sophomore slump (10 interceptions through five games) has started murmurs through the fanbase about giving freshman Patrick Mahomes a starting chance, and essentially riding out the season until highly acclaimed Stephenville quarterback Jarrett Stidham arrives on campus in January.

via National reaction: Kliff Kingsbury has decision to make; no excuse for Texas Tech to be this bad | Dallas Morning News.

WV MetroNews – Growth shows in bottom line, not WVU’s execution

Even as communication mishaps sabotaged drives and West Virginia’s offense trudged through a scoreless second half, this was progress.

Clunky, careless, disjointed progress.

West Virginia will take it.

Quarterback Clint Trickett said “Obviously, I played horrible,” and coach Dana Holgorsen didn’t argue the point. Kevin White produced a Biletnikoff-type first quarter and promptly became a ghost. West Virginia’s offense cracked the Kansas 36-yard line on 10 drives and somehow produced only two touchdowns. WVU torpedoed its plans for a homecoming blowout by losing three second-half turnovers.

via WV MetroNews – Growth shows in bottom line, not WVU’s execution.

Charleston Daily Mail | WVU FOOTBALL: Mountaineers miss out on shutout, but cruise to 33-14 win over Kansas

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Those who remained in the stands late in the third quarter Saturday were left to look for the second shutout of the season, which seemed likely the way the Kansas offense and West Virginia defense were playing.

The most faithful of the 52,164 at Mountaineer Field had that feat slip through their fingers, though, when a punt slipped through Jordan Thompson’s fingers to give the Jayhawks the ball at the WVU 18-yard line.

Kansas scored four plays later, and had a rare third-down conversion along the way, to deprive the Mountaineers of their first multiple-shutout season since 1996.

The mourning was brief, though, as Mario Alford returned the ensuing kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown and the signature play of a 33-14 victory.

via Charleston Daily Mail | WVU FOOTBALL: Mountaineers miss out on shutout, but cruise to 33-14 win over Kansas.

The Charleston Gazette | No surprise this time as WVU dominates Kansas

West Virginia did exactly what it was expected to do with Kansas Saturday.

That may not sound like anything special, but after failing so miserably in a similar attempt a year ago, it came with a welcome sigh of relief.

A year after being shocked by an awful Kansas team and losing 31-19, West Virginia this time routed an equally awful group of Jayhawks. The Mountaineers scored early and often — although not always touchdowns — before settling for a rather sloppy but still easy 33-14 win in front of a homecoming crowd of 52,164 at Mountaineer Field.

“It’s a much better spot than where we were last year, I’ll say that,’’ coach Dana Holgorsen said.

Indeed it was. A year ago, West Virginia didn’t play anywhere near what it was capable of playing and paid the price by becoming the only team among Kansas’ last 32 opponents to lose to the Jayhawks. This year the Mountaineers didn’t play anywhere near what they were capable of playing and won easily.

“You’ve got to be able to win games when you’re not playing your best,’’ quarterback Clint Trickett said. “And that’s exactly what happened.’’

via The Charleston Gazette | No surprise this time as WVU dominates Kansas.

The Charleston Gazette | WVU notebook: Backup QBs hot topic after win

MORGANTOWN — One of the most intriguing aspects of West Virginia’s 33-14 win over Kansas Saturday involved someone who didn’t even dress for the game.

That would be freshman quarterback William Crest, who watched from the sidelines in sweats.

Coach Dana Holgorsen said afterward that Crest was dealing with a shoulder issue.

“William’s shoulder is all jacked up right now,’’ Holgorsen said of Crest’s shoulder. “It goes back to when he had some shoulder stuff back in August and we had to hold him out of a couple of practices.’’

Crest then apparently overworked the shoulder during the off week and then because of that did not practice at all leading up to the Kansas game.

Crest won the backup quarterback job early in the season, but has played just once, in a blowout of Towson. The rule regarding medical hardship waivers (essentially a medical redshirt) is that a player can’t participate in more than 30 percent of a team’s regular-season games (rounded up to four games in football) and none can be in the second half of the season.

via The Charleston Gazette | WVU notebook: Backup QBs hot topic after win.

West Virginia Downs Kansas – WVU Athletics

West Virginia got four field goals from Josh Lambert and first-half touchdowns from Kevin White and Rushel Shell, but some shaky special teams play kept the defense from pitching another shutout in Saturday’s 33-14 victory over Kansas.

The Jayhawks were playing their first game under the leadership of interim coach Clint Bowen, who took over for the fired Charlie Weis last Sunday.

The stat sheet showed 557 yards of offense for West Virginia, but the Kansas defense did a pretty good job of bottling up the Mountaineers all afternoon.

“You’ve got to give Kansas credit, especially defensively,” said West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen. “It was frustrating all day.”

via West Virginia Downs Kansas – WVU Athletics.

Tennis Tallies Two Doubles Wins at Akron – WVU Athletics

The West Virginia University women’s tennis team tallied a pair of victories in doubles against the host Akron Zips on Saturday at the Akron Invitational in Ohio.

In doubles, senior Ikttesh Chahal and sophomore Kaja Mrgole defeated Akron’s Martina Zerbola and Karolina Maksimava (8-5). Freshmen duo Carolina Lewis and Lyn Yuen Choo grabbed the Mountaineers’ second doubles win of the day (8-2).

In singles action, Cornell won four of five matches against the Mountaineers. Choo defeated Cornell’s Priyanka Shah, forcing three sets, claiming the second set on a tie break (1-6, 7-6 (4), 10-0). Lewis fell to Cornell’s Lizzie Stewart in a second set tie break with a score of 6-1, 7-6 (2).

“We had a better day in doubles today, and continued with aggressive play. We will continue to work on playing aggressively in doubles action tomorrow,” coach Miha Lisac said. “Overall, we have work to do in singles. Tomorrow is another opportunity for us to get better.”

via Tennis Tallies Two Doubles Wins at Akron – WVU Athletics.

Rowing Earns Silver Medal at Head of Ohio – WVU Athletics

Despite poor weather conditions, the West Virginia University women’s rowing team posted three Top-10 finishes in the Women’s Open 8+ event, earning a silver medal at the Head of the Ohio in Pittsburgh.

WVU’s first boat, crewed by Elizabeth Duarte, Louisa Morgan, Lisa Deklau, Sadie Kalathunkal, Elizabeth Kantak, Emma Preston, Kelly Kramer, Emily Stasi and coxswain Brittany James earned a second-place finish out of 17 teams (15:28.68).

“I have mixed feelings about today’s performances. While our crews handled the poor racing conditions rather well, I wanted to see more aggressive racing today. Duquesne’s ‘A’ crew was more aggressive at the start, quickly bridging the gap of our ‘A’ crew. Their aggressive start was the difference in the race, earning them the win,” said coach Jimmy King.

via Rowing Earns Silver Medal at Head of Ohio – WVU Athletics.

VIDEO INTERVIEWS: WVU Football Players and Assistant Coaches

Watch full video interviews of West Virginia Football players and assistant coaches following the Mountaineers' win over Kansas at home.

via VIDEO INTERVIEWS: WVU Football Players and Assistant Coaches Tal – WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News – Mountaineer Sports.

WV MetroNews – Postgame: Holgorsen reflects on good, bad from beating Kansas

West Virginia’s 33-14 win over Kansas wasn’t as dominant as Dana Holgorsen wanted, but it certainly tasted better than the last time they met.

The Mountaineers gained 557 yards but settled for two offensive touchdowns eight trips inside the Kansas 40.

“I was excited about how we were moving the ball,” Holgorsen said. “We just didn’t finish drives very good.”

West Virginia’s defense certainly finished off drives, forcing a school-record 14 punts.

Getting them to punt 14 times is pretty good, and we didn’t give up any big plays,” he said. “Holding them to 3-of-17 on third downs, that’s pretty good defensive football.”

via WV MetroNews – Postgame: Holgorsen reflects on good, bad from beating Kansas.

WV MetroNews – 14 punts! Defense clamps down on Kansas ground game

Kansas didn’t feature a Gayle Sayers, or even a James Sims for that matter, but at least its running game had been functional this season.

West Virginia completely shut down that functionality Saturday.

Despite missing defensive end Dontrill Hyman, the Mountaineers allowed only 65 yards rushing—about 130 below the Jayhawks’ average.

Coincidentally, West Virginia had given up 198 yards rushing in its first four games, being overmatched by the likes of Oklahoma and Alabama and caught out of position against Maryland.

For one week at least, the run defense stiffened like Mountaineers units of yesteryear.

via WV MetroNews – 14 punts! Defense clamps down on Kansas ground game.

The Charleston Gazette | Best hope for Kansas? Shifty quarterback Cozart

If Kansas and its train wreck of a football program have a chance to upset four-touchdown favorite West Virginia today, the impetus would likely have to come from one of two sources, if not both.

First, the Jayhawks could enjoy some sort of motivational and energetic surge. The school fired coach Charlie Weis on Sunday and replaced him with defensive coordinator Clint Bowen. Strange things sometimes happen to a team’s psyche in situations such as that, and while it is entirely possible the result will be a funk there is also the chance it could be a bump.

More realistically, though, there is this: Kansas employs as its quarterback an athletic and dangerous sophomore by the name of Montell Cozart. While Cozart has been far from exceptional as the starter thus far this season, he does have the potential to extend plays and shake things up.

That’s perhaps what concerns West Virginia the most heading into today’s homecoming game (4 p.m. kickoff, Root Sports) at Mountaineer Field.

“The biggest thing that he does well is keep the play alive,’’ WVU coach Dana Holgorsen said of the 6-foot-2, 200-pound Cozart. “He’ll do some run game stuff, but in the pass game he does a great job of keeping things alive.’’

via The Charleston Gazette | Best hope for Kansas? Shifty quarterback Cozart.

The Charleston Gazette | WVU notebook: Emotions shouldn’t be lacking today for Mountaineers

A comprehensive list of the issues that plagued West Virginia and contributed to an embarrassing 31-19 loss at Kansas late last season would be a long one.

But the highlights — or lowlights — are fairly obvious.

It was a Mountaineer team that was simply worn down defensively. Safety K.J. Dillon was out after being hospitalized the week before after an overtime loss at Texas. Safety Darwin Cook was a mere shell of himself with a variety of injuries. Others were operating at less than peak efficiency.

Quarterback Clint Trickett was in street clothes, the victim of a concussion the week before and with a non-functioning throwing shoulder to boot. That threw Paul Millard back into the mix in an offense that was struggling to find its groove even at full strength.

There was also the simple fact that at that point in the season there just wasn’t much of anything for which to play. At 4-6, low-level bowl eligibility was still on the table, but the deflating 47-40 loss to Texas the week before was the fourth in West Virginia’s previous five games, so a mid-November game between two teams with a combined six wins seemed like playing out the string.

“Yeah, I think emotion had a lot to play with it,’’ WVU coach Dana Holgorsen said, looking back on the defeat. “And it’s my job to have our guys ready to play. I didn’t do a very good job of that last year.’’

via The Charleston Gazette | WVU notebook: Emotions shouldn’t be lacking today for Mountaineers.

Football Friday, presented by WV Lottery – WVU Athletics

Tony Caridi and Dwight Wallace are at the stadium to preview Saturday's West Virginia-Kansas game at Milan Puskar Stadium, presented by the West Virginia Lottery.

via Football Friday, presented by WV Lottery – WVU Athletics.

Tennis Finishes Day One at Akron – WVU Athletics

The West Virginia University women’s tennis team opened competition at the Akron Invitational in Akron, Ohio, earlier today with two singles match wins.

In singles action, Michigan State won four of six matches against the Mountaineers. Sophomore Kaja Mrgole defeated MSU’s Erin Faulkner, forcing three sets, claiming the last two sets on a tie break (0-6, 7-6 (6), 1-0 (8)). Freshman Lyn Yuen Choo dominated MSU’s Athena Trouillot in two straight sets (6-1, 6-4), and captured the second victory on the day for the Mountaineers.

In doubles, freshmen Carolina Lewis and Choo defeated Cornell’s Lizzie Stewart and Alyssa Boey (8- 5). Senior Ikttesh Chahal and Mrgole paireup for the first time this season and faced Cornell’s Dena Tanenbaum and Priyanka Shah, but fell 8-4.

“Overall we had a slower start today in singles, and we have to get better,” coach Miha Lisac said. “We played aggressively in doubles, and it was a step in the right direction from last week’s play.”

via Tennis Finishes Day One at Akron – WVU Athletics.

Squires Sets Pool Record in Gold-Blue Meet – WVU Athletics

Senior Tim Squires set a new pool record in the 100 free with his spilt in the 300 free relay, leading the West Virginia University swimming and diving Gold Team to a win over the Blue Team in the Gold-Blue Meet at the WVU Natatorium earlier today.

The Gold side came away with a 288-277 victory over the Blue squad.

“We had some really good highlights today,” said coach Vic Riggs. “Obviously, Tim breaking the pool record is a great way for us to start our season.”

Squires was the first leg of the mixed 300 free relay, finishing his 100 free leg in a WVU pool record 44.92. The time eclipsed the previous pool record of 45.12 held by Jake Lucas of Pitt.

via Squires Sets Pool Record in Gold-Blue Meet – WVU Athletics.

GAME PREVIEW: WVU Matches Up with Kansas at Home

Kansas rolls into Morgantown this Saturday for a 4 p.m. homecoming Mountaineer matchup.

Both Kansas and WVU currently sit at 0-1 in conference play and 2-2 overall, but come Saturday night one team will be boasting their first conference win.

West Virginia is coming off a bye week where as Coach Dana Holgorsen said, he saw an improved attitude change. Holgorsen did emphasize though that while it was a bye week it certainly was not an “off” week with great work still getting accomplished.

Under Dana Holgorsen, WVU is 2-4 when coming off a bye week, and the team is hoping to improve that record come this Saturday.

via GAME PREVIEW: WVU Matches Up with Kansas at Home – WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News – Mountaineer Sports.